Titanic facts: James Cameron reveals what the movie got wrong
Titanic, the beloved and highly cherished 1997 romantic-drama movie chronicling the tragic story of two star-crossed lovers, Jack and Rose, is celebrating its epic 25th anniversary. Nat Geo also released a special titled Titanic: 25 Years Later with James Cameron on Sunday, February 5, 2023, to pay tribute to the iconic movie completing 25 years in 2023.
The official synopsis for the Nat Geo special, released by the network, reads:
"In "Titanic: 25 Years Later with James Cameron," the Academy Award-winning director and National Geographic Explorer-at-Large adds a postscript to his fictional retelling of the tragedy. After hearing fans continue to insist Jack didn’t have to die that night, he mounts tests to see, once and for all, whether both Jack and Rose could have fit on that raft and survived."
In this special documentary, legendary director James Cameron disclosed that some facts might be wrong in the 1997 movie. Cameron said:
"The film Titanic depicts what we believed was an accurate portrayal of the ship's last hours. We showed it sinking bow-first, lifting the stern high in the air, before its massive weight broke the vessel in two...Over the past 20 years, I've been trying to figure out if we got that right."
"As accurate as I could make it at the time": Titanic director James Cameron in the Nat Geo special
The Academy Award-winning director opened up regarding what might have gone wrong with the sequence where the ship was in its last hour, sinking into the Atlantic Ocean. James Cameron said:
"I have no way of saying that is in fact what happened, but I'd like to be able to rule it in as a possibility 'cause then I don't have to remake the freaking film!" he confessed, adding that it was "as accurate as I could make it at the time."
The special one-hour documentary revealed that the ship's stern could have fallen back into the Atlantic Ocean, and the part could have sunk vertically. However, it could not have possibly done both. While talking about it, the director further said:
"We found out you can have the stern sink vertically and you can have the stern fall back with a big splash, but you can't have both...So the film is wrong on one point or the other -- I tend to think it's wrong on the 'fall back of the stern' because of what we see at the bow of the wreck."
"I think we can rule in the possibility of a vertical stern sinking, and I think we can rule out the possibility of it both falling back and then going vertical. We were sort of half right in the movie."
The director clarified that facts like these, or the decade-long debate over whether Jack could have made it out alive alongside Rose, are often approached from a mindset of movie-making.
Cameron also explained that attempting to make it as accurate as possible is to honor all the precious lives lost in the Atlantic Ocean's heart. The director further said:
"You always have to kind of grab yourself by the scruff of your neck and remind yourself what happened there was a real tragedy," the director expressed. "It happened to real people, and it still resonates down through time in this very powerful way."
Viewers can stream Nat Geo's Titanic: 25 Years Later With James Cameron on the streaming platform Hulu.